Sense in Cents

To support events that build a sense of community, promote diversity, enhance the local economy and celebrate what it means to be a Vancouverite, our donation strategy aims to generate income for the City of Vancouver’s Film and Special Events Department so that it can continue to provide all events with operational support.




School of Economics


ECON 364


  • Catherine Douglas
  • Vinicius Pecanha (TA)

City of Vancouver:

  • Geoff Teoli
  • Desiree Hamilton

Student Team:

  • Jacob John
  • Jasmine Arora
  • Kathleen Serrano
  • Tanvi Krishna
  • Tristan Morgan
  • Zoe Nicoladis


  • Special Event Policy


Spring 2021


To continue hosting over 400 free events in Vancouver every year, the City of Vancouver’s Film and Special Events Department is looking to launch a micro-donation campaign that will give the Department access to funds outside the tax base. Sense in Cents aims to support this objective by determining if a micro-donation strategy is feasible through the use of a survey that tests various soliciting approaches and by coming up with a donation strategy that generates a sustainable and reliable income for the Department.

It is essential to develop a new, effective, sustainable donation strategy so that these events remain free and accessible to all. Our project answers three questions: (i) how much are people willing to donate, (ii) how often are they willing to donate and (iii) what narrative has the greatest positive impact on donations. We designed a survey to build a rudimentary understanding of how much the local community would consider donating and what forms soliciting these donations should take in order to maximize success. Additionally, we conducted an extensive literature review to find presentation methods that result in favourable outcomes when soliciting donations. Our research has shown that an empathetic approach has better results than an objective approach. We also conducted case studies that focused on cities and NGOs that have successfully funded public events through micro-donations, as well as evaluated which applications are most effective at soliciting donations to help with the construction of our strategy.

Due to current limitations, we were unable to conduct a field survey to gather more data, nor could we test out the different soliciting strategies at public events. Despite this, our final playbook offers a viable and realistic fundraising proposition for the City. We recommend conducting another survey at in-person events (when permitted to do so) to determine if our online results are accurate.

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